O'Fallon Progress

1898: Hard cider had farmers singing neighbor’s praises

Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president.
Brian Keller is the O’Fallon Historical Society president. rkirsch@bnd.com

Conrad Fritz was getting ready to move from his house on O’Fallon-Troy Road to Belleville.

Wednesday, Feb. 23, 1898 was the day, and all was ready to go — except for a large quantity of hard cider. It was going, but not to Belleville. He invited his neighbors to a party the night before his change of address with the lure of plenty of refreshments.

It was reported that “there were not many that forgot to come.” Some thought he just didn’t want to cart the cider to Belleville. Others didn’t care. They didn’t have any themselves and were going to “drink enough to last them till somebody else moved.” Either way, the cider flowed freely.

The neighbors being primarily farmers, the conversation centered around farming. Would the 1898 wheat crop be a good one? Would it make them rich? How about the cider crop? Apparently, the last one was pretty good.

Singing contests ensued and music soon filled the air, until 1 a.m., when all decided it was time to go home. So, home they went singing with “some trying to keep in the middle of the road.” No word on how much cider was left, if any.

75 years ago Jan. 21, 1943

Struggling against a zero temperature to keep warm, O’Fallon citizens were confronted with another grave situation when the city’s water supply was suspended for 16 hours, beginning at 8 o’clock Tuesday night due to the bursting of the 10-inch water main on old U.S. Highway 50, near the State Highway building, six miles west of this city on the line which supplies O’Fallon with water from East St. Louis.

50 years ago Jan. 18, 1968

Water line breaks and problems with ground caving in at the new sewer line site plagued the city’s work crews during the past week, problems that were multiplied by the extremes in temperature and heavy snowfall with all available men and equipment struggling to keep main arteries of traffic open.